Waste company raided

A Trafalgar waste management business has been raided by police and environmental authorities as part of an ongoing investigation into illegal dumping practices.

Victoria Police and Environment Protection Authority officers executed a search warrant on Gippsland Waste Services yesterday morning, in which documents were seized.

A Sale-based business, Towards Zero, was also raided yesterday morning on the grounds of similar allegations, as part of a strike force investigation set up six months ago, targeting illegal activity in the construction, demolition and skip bin hire sectors.

The Express believes the raids came after allegations of the companies partaking in illegal dumping, providing false or misleading information to authorities and the avoidance of land-fill levies.

EPA director of environmental regulation Chris Webb said yesterday’s events had been the culmination of many months of ongoing surveillance and investigation, which has so far been localised in Gippsland.

“Evidence we’ve been able to obtain (yesterday) will enhance EPA’s six-month investigation into these companies for suspected illegal activity with regard to a number of landfills and transfer stations in Gippsland,” Mr Webb said.

EPA said it worked in conjunction with the Baw Baw, Wellington and East Gippsland shires, who have advised regional waste services would remain uninterrupted.

A Victoria Police spokesperson said Latrobe Valley Crime Investigation Unit received assistance in relation to the Trafalgar matter from three men, aged 59, 47 and 52, and had been released pending further enquiries

Gippsland Waste Services did not answer calls from The Express.

In a statement released yesterday afternoon, Baw Baw Shire chief executive Helen Anstis said the council had no knowledge of the EPA’s investigation into GWS until late last week. 

“Council closed the Trafalgar landfill November 2011, which was being operated by Moltoni Waste Management, the parent company of GWS,” Ms Anstis said. 

“The contract with Moltoni was terminated due to repudiation of the contract.

“Council now manages the transfer station at Trafalgar with its own staff.”